Application of solar disinfection for treatment of contaminated public water supply in a developing country: field observations

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A sustainable and low-cost point-of-use household drinking water solar disinfection (SODIS) technology was successfully applied to treat microbiologically contaminated water. Field experiments were conducted to determine the efficiency of SODIS and evaluate the potential benefits and limitations of SODIS under local climatic conditions in Karachi, Pakistan. In order to enhance the efficiency of SODIS, the application of physical interventions were also investigated. Twenty per cent of the total samples met drinking water guidelines under strong sunlight weather conditions, showing that SODIS is effective for complete disinfection under specific conditions. Physical interventions, including black-backed and reflecting rear surfaces in the batch reactors, enhanced SODIS performance. Microbial regrowth was also investigated and found to be more controlled in reactors with reflective and black-backed surfaces. The transfer of plasticizer di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) released from the bottle material polyethylene terephthalate (PET) under SODIS conditions was also investigated. The maximum DEHP concentration in SODIS-treated water was 0.38 μg/L less than the value of 0.71 μg/L reported in a previous study and well below the WHO drinking-quality guideline value. Thus SODIS-treated water can successfully be used by the people living in squatter settlements of mega-cities, such as Karachi, with some limitations.

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